Nationalism in Colonial Africa

Nationalism in Colonial Africa

Nationalism in Colonial Africa

Nationalism in Colonial Africa

Excerpt

Like other political terms 'the colonial problem' has undergone a change of meaning. In the earlier part of this century writers like J. A. Hobson(1) and Sir Norman Angell(2) were rightly concerned with the competition for colonial possessions as a factor tending to promote, or intensify, conflict between the major European Powers. The practical question which absorbed them was -- how to limit, or remove, the rivalries between imperial and would-be imperial Powers, as an evident contributory cause of international wars. The term 'colonial problem' was used also in the period between the two wars in another, secondary sense -- the problem of the social ends to be sought, and the administrative methods to be used, by colonial Powers in the territories which they controlled. This, roughly, was the theme of much of the writings of the late Lord Lugard,(3) Lord Hailey,(4) Miss Margery Perham,(5) and others. From this point of departure it was natural to explore such questions as the relative merits of 'indirect' and 'direct' rule, of plantation economies and peasant agriculture; the problems raised by the introduction of European administrative and legal systems, by European commercial penetration and capital investments, by the planting of European settler communities. Chatham House's massive pre-war survey, The Colonial Problem, deals with the subject from both these angles -- the international and the administrative. But, like most other pre-war studies, it is based on an implicit assumption -- that, in some form, European authority over the colonial territories, and particularly colonial Africa, will continue for an indefinite period.

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